ScuzzBlog: Diaries June 2020

Entry 8th June 2020: Post 1: Jon Hare - Sensible chap.

Jon Hare - Sensible chap.

Better known as Jops , Jon Hare was the founding member of the
Sensible team along with Chris Yates. His talent was as an artist
and the creative mind behind most of the games. For a very long
time Jon was the only artist at Sensible, with Chris Yates as the
programming genius.

It all started way back when Jon was just 19 when as literal bedroom
programmers he and Chris developed their first game called Twister
for System 3. The game carries a cheat mode that announces the
name Sensible Software for the first time.

There next game called Parallax was a spaceship scrolling shooter
with a twist and was taken up by Ocean the first time of viewing.
Whilst the team made little money from the royalties they did
manage to secure their first real break.

Next on the agenda was Wizball for the C64 which could be said to
be an off the wall game that had some bonkers ideas, courtesy of 
Jon's wild imagination. The game was released in 1987 and won the
accolade of best game of its type for the decade.

To aid Jon in his programming skills Chris created a utility
which was later marketed as the Shoot 'em up Construction Kit in
1988. Though it was never intended to be used as such Jon persuaded
Chris to upgrade and modify the program so that it could be sold
as a gaming utility. It is still used by C64 enthusiasts today.

Microprose Soccer was Sensible's first venture into the sporting
arena and used some of their signature artwork for player creation.
Very much an American product, and difficult to publish, it did
set in motion a type of game that Sensible became synonymous with.

International 3D Tennis in 1990 was to cement the teams interest
in a 'world depth' by giving the game a real depth based on actual 
data. This enabled the player to sink deeper into the game. The game
used intuitive gameplay to allow players more freedom when taking
shots. The game was the first ported to the Amiga.

1991 saw Chris Chapman join the team for their game Mega-lo-Mania.
The game features the very first tech tree in any game. Whilst it
initially was going to involve flying ships, it dropped this in
favour of a technology based evolution game. Once again the depth
to which players involved themselves dictated the success and fun
they could have. This was to become the theme of all Sensible games.
Sadly MirrorSoft fell over with the demise of Maxwell taking all
their profits from this number one award winning game.

I guess the rest is history in terms of the release of Sensible
Soccer and Cannon Fodder.

For me their greatest achievement was Sensible World of Soccer. This
game boasts a full data path of all players, national teams and
league teams for all the major football nations of the world. Given
that the game is played from just two DD disks is truly amazing. I
have to say that I have played this game more than any other in my
history of gaming. Simply cus I have the game running in coaching
mode and it kinda plays itself.

I have featured Sensible Soccer previously so I won't go into that
in this blog. I just wanted to pay tribute to Jon and Chris for
all their hard work over the years. They certainly have given me
immeasurable joy and am most appreciative of what they gave the
Amiga community.

.. Never had so much fun !!!

Jon Hare - Sensible chap.

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Last updated 8th June 2020

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